This report provides a brief profile of the travel and tourism sector in Poland, with the focus on outbound travel from Poland and market conditions for U.S. business in Poland. Current tourist activity in Poland is reaching 49 percent of the population, lagging behind other EU countries where it ranges from 60 to 85 percent. However, Poles participation in foreign trips has been increasing dramatically during last two decades, with Polish tourists increasingly present in all of the major world tourist destinations.
Like the residents of other European countries, Poles travel most frequently to neighboring countries, while the domestic market dominates Poland’s tourist sector. Long-haul destinations accounts for eight percent of Polish outgoing tourism. United States has a potential to become one of the top long-haul travel destinations for Poles. Poland is a leader among Eastern European countries that supply visitors to the U.S. (20%of all Eastern European visitors in 2009). Current outgoing travel flow to U.S. is hampered by the U.S. visa requirement.
Market Overview and Market Data
Poland is widely recognized as an important destination for global tourism. It ranks eleventh in Europe with regard to the number of arrivals. Poland possesses adequate assets and tourist attractions as well as a sufficiently developed network of tourist services, with tourism and hotel infrastructure in the process of rapid development.
In 2009, 16 million Poles aged 15 and above, traveled either domestically or internationally (49% of the population aged above 15). The majority took part in domestic trips – 49% of this population, while 6% of the population participated in foreign trips. Participation in travel activity has stayed at the same level during last three years. As in other European countries, the domestic market dominates Poland’s tourism sector. In 2009, there were 30.8 million domestic trips – that constituted a decrease of 12% in comparison with 2008. Leisure and recreation (46%) and visiting friends (36%) were the most frequent purposes for domestic trips.
The total number of all arrivals to Poland in 2009 was 53.8 million (10% less than in 2008), including 11.9 million tourist arrivals. According to the WTO, Poland ranked 29th on the list of the world’s most visited countries in 2009 (with 11.9 tourist arrivals), and took the 29th position on the list of foreign currency revenues from tourism with USD 9 billion. On the top of foreign touristic arrivals to Poland were Germans (38%), followed by visitors from Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Great Britain. The number of tourist arrivals is estimated to rise to 13 million in 2012. Leisure trips are predicted to grow faster than transit, shopping-oriented and visiting friends & relatives (VFR) trips.